Apply to join someone as a party

If someone was not named in the original VCAT application but you believe they have a role in the case, you can apply to add them as a party. We may also add someone as a party on our own initiative, without receiving an application.

We call this 'joining a party'. The added party may be added as an applicant, a respondent or only as a joined party.

Examples of when a party might be joined to a case include:

  • you are an applicant and you want another person to be added as an applicant so they can benefit from any order made. They must agree that they want to be added.
  • you are an applicant and you want to add another person added as a respondent because you believe they are responsible for all or part of the dispute
  • you are a respondent and you want to add another person as a respondent because you believe they are responsible for all or part of the dispute.

We will only grant an application to add a party if someone's interests may be affected by the outcome of the case. Sometimes VCAT may join a party to the proceeding on its own motion because it believes that the person's interests may be affected by, or they should be bound by or have the benefit of the decision.

A respondent cannot add someone as an applicant.

Apply to join someone as a party

Use the Application for Directions Hearings or Orders form. When we receive your application, we decide if it is appropriate to join the party to the case.

You must send a copy of the form and the notice of directions hearing to the person you propose to join as a party as well as to all other parties in the case.

Time limits

There are time limits for applying to join a party to a case.

  • For urgent applications, we must receive all your documents by noon (12 pm) one business day before the directions hearing.
  • For routine applications, we must receive all your documents by noon (12 pm) four business days before the directions hearing. If we asked you to answer questions about the case, we must receive your answers and associated documents by noon (12 pm) two business days before the directions hearing.

We may order you to pay another party's legal costs if we do not receive all required documents in time and this delays the directions hearing.